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Industrial conglomerate Siemens AG is close to reaching a settlement with U.S. and German authorities over its long-standing corruption scandal, daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported Thursday.

Munich-based Siemens would not comment on the report.

"We're hoping on an agreement with the SEC before Christmas," a Siemens supervisory board member told the newspaper, referring to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. "If necessary, we'll meet December 23rd."

Siemens is subject to fines in the U.S. because it's also listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Siemens, which makes everything from trains to light bulbs, was first rocked by claims of corruption in 2006. Evidence began to surface in 2007 and the company has since acknowledged dubious payments to secure business around the world of up to euro1.3 billion ($1.7 billion).

In November, Siemens said it had set aside approximately euro1 billion to be booked in the last quarter of its 2008 fiscal year for any settlements related to the case. The company's fiscal year ended in September.

Siemens has said including the provision last fiscal year, the total cost of the corruption scandal is about euro2.5 billion to date.


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